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Whole Wheat Biscuits

For the 2015 cookbook challenge this week we’re going back to the basics.  Whole Wheat Biscuits from the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook to be exact.

whole wheat biscuits plate

The discussion around biscuits started after the Englishman and I watched this Key and Peele sketch where they make fun of Marshawn Lynch’s attitude during press interviews by responding “biscuits n’ gravy” to every answer.  And yes, as a football fan, I highly enjoyed this sketch.

Anyway, after watching this all I could think about were biscuits.  Warm, fluffy biscuits hot out of the oven with some butter and maybe a little honey spread on top.  No frills, no fuss, just biscuits.  So I opened my trusty America’s Test Kitchen cookbook and got to work.

whole wheat biscuits bookOh and I should mention that the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook is probably one of the most informative and helpful cookbooks I have ever owned.  Each section includes a detailed guide for how to make a variety of dishes, as well as what can go wrong and how to remedy it.  And as I mentioned above, the book is about mastering the basics, which I think is so important.

Ok so back to the biscuits.  The original recipe called for all-purpose flour and buttermilk and I didn’t have either of those things so I swapped in almond milk + lemon juice and whole wheat flour and it worked out fine.

These whole wheat biscuits are a breeze to put together and are great if you want a quick afternoon snack or light breakfast.  The Englishman oftentimes packs a couple to take to work every day to enjoy with his morning cup of tea.

Whole Wheat Biscuits (makes 12 biscuits)


2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup almond milk

8 tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt


Preheat your oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Melt your butter over low heat and set aside to cool.  In a medium mixing bowl add your flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Mix until well blended.

whole wheat biscuit doughGently fold in your butter, almond milk and lemon juice into your dry mixture and continue to mix until you get a nice, sticky dough.

whole wheat biscuits pre bakeScoop spoonfuls of dough onto your baking sheet and place in the oven for 15-17 minutes.

whole wheat biscuits finishedRemove from the oven when the tops and bottoms are lightly browned.

Cool and enjoy.  Maybe even with some gravy.

Homemade Gyro Meat

So I think it’s pretty evident that I’m on a Greek food kick.  First it was the homemade Greek salad, and then after seeing Emily’s tzatziki dip, I knew it was time to make homemade gyro meat and treat myself to quite possibly one of the best Greek salads I’ve had in a long time.

homemade gyro meat saladI don’t know what it is about Orange County, but we seem to be severely lacking in the Greek food department.  The closest I ever got was Chicken Dijon, but that has since closed and wasn’t the most authentic shop in town anyway.  If I wanted gyro, I was going to have to make it myself.

At first I wasn’t even sure I could make homemade gyro meat because I don’t have a rotisserie.  Then I stumbled upon this genius recipe on serious eats and realized I could turn my gyro dreams into a reality.

While this may not be exactly like the gyro meat you get at a proper restaurant, it’s pretty dang close.  Plus, from start to finish this recipe only takes about 40 minutes, so you’ll have delicious homemade gyro meat in no time!

homemade gyro meat wrapThe best part of this meat is how versatile it is.  I had it on top of my homemade Greek salad, and the Englishman enjoyed it in a wrap.  Paired with Emily’s tzatziki dip, some feta and olive oil, and it was perfection.

Now I need to plan a trip to Greece.

Homemade Gyro Meat (adapted from Serious Eats)


1 pound ground lamb

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground pepper

2 tbsp bay leaves

1 tsp herbs de Provence

1/2 onion, cut into large chunks

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced.


In a large mixing bowl combine your lamb, herbs de Provence, salt and pepper and mix well.  Place your bow in the fridge for about an hour to let the flavors marinate.

Preheat your oven to 300F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place your chopped onion and garlic on the sheet.

homemade gyro meat ground lambRemove your meat from the fridge and mold into a rectangular loaf.  The loaf should be thin and not too thick (about 1.5 in high).  Place bay leaves on top of your meat.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or until the lamb is fully cooked through.  Remove from oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

homemade gyro meat slicesSlice your meat into thin strips.  Set your oven to broil and place meat back in the oven on a baking sheet and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until the ends are nice and crispy.

Now it’s time to enjoy your homemade gyro meat!  It’s perfect in a salad, wrap or just on its own!

homemade gyro meat bowlIf you aren’t a big lamb fan this recipe also works well with ground beef.

Any other Greek food fans out there?  What do I need to make next?

Grain-Free Pumpkin Date Muffins

Yes, another pumpkin muffin recipe.  Guilty as charged.  But these muffins are different because they are grain-free pumpkin date muffins and may be my new fall favorite.

grain free pumpkin date muffinsIt all started when I was on my 10 mile run this weekend.  Usually when I’m running I think about what I want for breakfast (since I run early in the morning) and what I really wanted was the Carrot Banana Muffins that I’ve made from the True Food Kitchen cookbook numerous times.  But I did not have any carrots or bananas in my house, and the last thing I felt like doing after running 10 miles was hopping in the car and driving to the store.  Naturally we have an abundance of canned pumpkin in the house, so I decided to see if I could sub the pumpkin in for the carrot and banana in the True Food Kitchen recipe.

To be honest, I didn’t take many pictures while I was making the grain-free pumpkin date muffins because I wasn’t sure how they would turn out.  But they turned out delicious!  Almost like mini pumpkin cakes sweetened with maple syrup and dates.

If you want to make these “true” paleo muffins, I would swap the maple syrup for the honey, otherwise these muffins are grain-free and gluten-free which is perfect for a wide variety of diets.

So embrace the pumpkin recipe overload because these are delicious.  Trust me.

grain free pumpkin date muffins pinGrain-Free Pumpkin Date Muffins (inspired from the True Food Kitchen cookbook)

*Makes 12 muffins


2 cups almond flour

3 eggs (I used 1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons egg whites)

1 cup pumpkin

1 1/4 cup dates, pitted

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup coconut oil

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp cinnamon


Preheat your oven to 325F.  Lightly grease or line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Place your dates in a food processor.  Pulse until dates begin to resemble more of a paste.  Add your pumpkin, almond flour, eggs (or egg whites), coconut oil, maple syrup, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to the food processor and pulse until everything is well blended.

(If you don’t have a food processor you can still make these by hand, just make sure your dates are finely chopped.)

Gently spoon your batter into the muffin tins and place in the oven.  Bake for 40-43 minutes.  You’ll know the muffins are done by sticking a toothpick in the center and seeing if it comes out clean.

grain free pumpkin date muffin tinThese muffins have a nice texture to them and are perfect with a pat of butter, chocolate spread, peanut butter, etc. etc.  And since there is minimal sugar in them, they are practically a health food (or so I tell myself).  I just might have to try these muffins as a grain-free pumpkin date bread next.

grainfree pumpkin date muffin close upWhat’s your favorite pumpkin recipe?  Is there something I need to try out next?



Vegan Black Bean Brownies

I have seen black bean brownie recipes all over the web and nearly every recipe claims that the brownies are crazy delicious, event though the brownies have little to no butter and sometimes no eggs at all.  I mean, black beans in brownies?  Aren’t brownies supposed to be full of eggs and butter?

I decided to go the vegan route with my first attempt at black bean brownie making and I am pleased to say it was a success!  While the texture is more dense and not as gooey as a brownie, you cannot taste the black beans at all.  It’s a nice low-calorie dessert with a little extra fiber with a nutritional boost.

If you are looking for a decadent brownie, then this is not it, but if you are looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth while not being a sugar bomb, then bake away my friends!

Vegan Black Bean Brownies (adapted from this recipe)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and filled with new water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of water
1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Add in the cocoa, brown sugar and maple syrup and blend well.

Drain your can of black beans (to remove the salty residue) and rinse well with water.  Once the beans are clean you can either puree them or just add them to the mixture.  I personally did not puree the beans and the brownies still came out nice.

Add the beans to your dry ingredients and blend together.  Add your cup of water (you might need to add another 1/2 cup) and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into a greased 9×13 pan, or you can use this nifty dessert bar pan I used from Bed Bath and Beyond.

This pan is perfect for brownies because they come out in little squares.

Bake for 25-30 minutes and make sure not to leave them in too long or the brownies will become too dry.  Let brownies cool completely and cut into squares.

The Englishman loved these brownies and he HATES black beans (he couldn’t taste them at all), so if that isn’t a testimonial as to the deliciousness of these brownies, I don’t know what is!